House E&C Committee Questions Google, Facebook, and Twitter About Vaccine Misinformation

According to a Tuesday press release from the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, the committee chairman and four subcommittee chairs want answers from tech companies about what they are doing to curb the spread of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation on their platforms. Letters the committee sent to Facebook, Twitter, and Google’s CEOs are the second set sent since July when the lawmakers similarly expressed “deep concern” regarding the spread of false or misleading information about the virus more generally.

“As the country enters this next phase in its fight against the virus – the success of which is dependent on hundreds of millions of Americans trusting the science behind these vaccines – the Committee is deeply troubled by news reports of coronavirus vaccine misinformation on your platform,” the legislators wrote to CEOs Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, and Sundar Pichai.

The letters further implored the companies to stop the spread of false or misleading information about coronavirus vaccines. The legislators appealed for help, writing that “false and misleading information is dangerous, and if relied on by the public to make critical health choices, it could result in the loss of human life.”

In the letters, the Committee leaders asked for information to better understand how the tech giants are managing and curtailing misinformation on their platforms. Specifically, the letters “demanded” answers regarding actions taken to limit false or misleading information; policy changes the companies have implemented to stop its spread; and details about common targeted advertisements that appear alongside COVID-19 vaccine misinformation, enforcement actions, and cross-platform collaboration.